Back Tap on iPhone: the forgotten accessibility action

Hand holding a smartphone with the title "Back Tap on iPhone: the forgotten accessibility action"

by Joe Lonergan

A lot was made of Back Tap when it came out a few years ago, but so much has happened since I think it has been passed over by some other features.

Back Tap is an Accessibility action introduced to the iPhone that allows you to double tap or treble tap the back of your iPhone to perform a shortcut.

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch.
  2. Scroll down, then select Back Tap.
  3. Select either Double Tap or Triple Tap.
  4. Scroll down to the Shortcuts area, then choose a shortcut.
  5. Tap Back Tap to apply the setting.
  6. Double-tap or triple-tap the back of your phone to run the shortcut.

So why would we use it?

It is situated in the touch area of accessibility settings so we can presume it is there to help people that have trouble interacting with the touch screen.

It can be used for many shortcuts and for launching many applications, read on for some use cases.

If you have an iPhone with no home button you can set Back Tap to launch the app switcher or unlock the phone, these actions can be difficult for some users, and tapping the back of your phone to launch can make it so much easier.

You can use it to launch the magnifier app, there are many occasions throughout the day that you may need to use the magnifier app, and having an action to launch it quickly is good.

You can use Back Tap to invoke a Siri Shortcut. If you have set up some Siri shortcuts in the shortcuts app you will now see them in the list of actions available in the Back Tap section. Siri Shortcut could play your favourite radio station, tell you your current location turn on the lights, and more.

Note, You can add two actions to Back Tap, one to double tap and one to treble tap.

So, if Back Tap is something you have not checked out in a while, revisit it, and see if it could be useful for you. Let us know if you have any great ideas for the feature.

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